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tv   [untitled]    June 22, 2013 1:30am-2:01am PDT

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it was unanimous and i thought that i could not have voted for that but i did because i was assured by the staff that the commissioners could vote otherwise if they felt that the benefits of the particular proposal out weighed the 20 percent, but now, as i look at it more, i think that it is really a poor matrix to use. i still believe that you have to look at the entire district from octavia to castro and see what kind of a concentration of formula retail you have when making a decision not just a real isolated area and it is even worse in this enstance because a lot of it is parking lot, and a lot of it is unused space, and so, it looks a lot worse than it really is in terms of the concentration. one speaker brought up the point that she felt that there was a huge concentration of formula retail within the entire district upwards of 30 percent. and i have been told that there are only 12 formula retail
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establishments total in the district. and it may be two different things and we both may be right, the number of the establishments in the square footage of the establishments it could be that upwards of the high 20s of square footage might be formula retail, and some of them may be larger, and i am not sure that is correct any way. but at least, whether we permit this or not, i think that the matrix that we are using is not a good one with this 300 foot radius because you could have a situation where all of the formula retail is in one area and there is none throughout the rest of the district and you know you have to look at kind of the big picture. i have heard about the vacantcy and that concerns me. but the other thing that is more important is we are going to be bringing all of the units on-line, we have at least 7 new buildings that are being built with housing. and some are condo and some are rental and it does not make it any difference, there is going to be over 1,000 new units
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almost all of them have ground floor retail and now what should be done and i am not sure whether we as a commission did this, but, these areas should be restricted to divide up the retail space into smaller spaces that are more appropriate for local businesses to be able to pay the rent, and to thrive, where they don't have a huge piece of land that has been a problem for a long time. and these triangles have been problems as long as i can remember, many of them eliminated the problem by being demolished and now there is housing built on those. but normally, they were businesses that did not last too long. and they were not that successful, and where there were gas stations. but, as far as putting a small independent business in there, you have more space and you will particularly if parking is more restricted as it will be in the market plan and you will have a lot of land that you
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will not have a use for, it is going to be hard especially with the restaurant to use up that much space. i think that a better way of looking and another way of looking at it might be that if you take the block, that chipotle would be on, and look at just the stores along that side, which would be the northern part of the block, between i guess that it is church and sanchez if i am correct. and there are only two formula retail, if you consider state farm insurance one of them and the other as sterling bank. and so, on that particular block on the north side, there are very few. they have talked a little bit about their philosophy as an organization and i was told that the founder a man was originally at stars and went through the san francisco culinary academy and he
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certainly has the right credentials to run a business that is done responsibly. it has been said that the rent will be same as what home was paying three years ago, which is pretty amazing in itself. and i think that these are the main points on this particular issue. there are a couple of other things that i wanted to mention. there is always the possibility if you don't support something just because it is there, it does not mean that you have to patronize it and it gives choices to those who do want to patronize it for a variety of reasons and there might be nights when someone goes to chipotle because they are in a hurry, or it is daytime and they are in the middle of work and they want to come in quick and get something and they want good quality food. but at night they want to sit at one of the other restaurant and relax and have a nice meal or some of them may try chipotle and say that i liked it but it is not the style of
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dining that i like and i am going to go to these other places. i don't think that it has to be competition, and so i am in favor of the proposal, but we will see what the other commissioners have to say. >> commissioner hillis? >> thank you all for commenting, we have actual hi leder a lot about chipotle and a lot about this site and it is similar to what we heard about starbucks a couple of weeks ago. i mean the reason that we are here is because the citizens of san francisco voted yes on prop g, when kind of set a high bar for formula retail and i think rightly so, you know, we want san francisco to maintain its unique neighborhoods and its unique neighborhood character. that is why the voters passed it pretty overwhelmingly and that is why we are here discussing this. and i don't think that this is necessarily about chipotle and whether it is a good chain or a
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bad chain. i don't think... i mean, you think back to when and i was here when boston market here and when home was there and it was a very different feel for that block. when home was there as opposed to the boston market and both of them did not work out and they were there for a while and i don't think that this site, we can argue that this site works better for formula retail, or a independent restaurant and both went under and there was a vacantcy for both and so the argument about vacantcies is suspect and it was vacant because the formula retail as well as independent restaurant after a years of operating. it is vacant because we are in this process and because it has been trying to get the support on working on this process and
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we heard that it has tied up the site for over a year and i think that it boils down to neighborhood character and preserving our neighborhood character and kind of what the balance is for chain stores, prop g set the bar high, for formula retail and the policy that we adopted for upper market set the bar higher, and is it a signal to those who want to open formula retail establishments in this neighborhood to go and talk to the neighbors, and in the neighborhood groups and make sure that it is an appropriate fit, which i think that cvs did and we approved that. and i just don't think that we have made the case that this is appropriate use for this site, which i agree with one speaker which is kind of the gateway to the neighborhood and so i am not supportive of this cu. >> i would like to ask a question of the staff and if they would try to address the argument about the 19 percent verses 20 percent and if in
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fact the parking lot of the safeway falls into the radius, and i guess that i have a question of whether it is maybe not retail there, if that parking lot is zoned for retail, or not. >> the calculation is based off of commercial frontages and frontages occupied by the commercial uses and for calculating and for in regards to telling the parking lot that it is considered a special lot situation and that parking lot and that serve for parking. and formula uses. and that counts toward that, that frontage calculation and for in this case, there were a couple of parking lots and there are a couple of lots that operated as parking for the shopping center, so they do count. they do count towards getting the 20 percent, or the 27
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percent calculation for existing. we are counting the parcel and there is formula retail in that parcel. yes, what we counted at that shopping center serves safeway and starbucks and jamba juice. they do count, we are counting it for a policy for the calculating. >> i have a couple more questions if you want to follow up. >> that one point that i made a note to myself because it seems to me that the staff is correct. and in using that approach it is similar to when the commissioners have conflicts on properties within 500 feet. i will give you the example the auditor um on california and
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you pay the ticket and you sit in the auditor um that subpoena on the higher end of the block the property that masonic is 500 feet and my condo is not within 500 feet but it is the property that counts and their driveway and their loading zone comes all the way down to pine street. and so i am my property, and it is within 500 feet of that property. the fact that it encompasses the property that also has a number of formula retail
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establishments. >> i actually had church at chipotle, you do run a good operation and a great business and it is different from other restaurants and other restaurants in that category. i am going to stick with the policy that this commission adopted and that is the 20 percent rule and i appreciate the argument that it is 19 percent, if it is property line property line, i could maybe see, i am going to have to depend that staff is accurate and that calculation in this particular case. and so, i am supportive of following the recommendation, and so as far as two things, 20 percent rule may not be the ultimate tool. and we have had the discussions last week about that. and i think that we are also reminding our heads that it is one tool and there may be others but it is the one in front of us right now and one
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that we have agreed upon for the moment and that may change and flip and maybe be different from a different district or a different part of the city but i want to send another message out to the larger community that san francisco alone many case and what gets the ink is that formula retail is not wanted and there are certain parts that it is need and desired a grocery store in particular and basic services that we need this particular location is nearby fantastic mexican food and i don't know if it is the best by comparison but there is great food to be had and it is a food mecca for san francisco. and the best thing about san francisco is that we keep rotating in the district scenarios and the neighborhood of san francisco as far as food and this is the hot spot right now and so i think, let it alone, and let it cultivate the
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way that it should and maybe in time we will look at this very differently and that is the place to put a formula retail but at the moment i don't think that it is necessary and i think or i know that i am not going to approve it. >> commissioner borden. >> i live six blocks from this location and i have thought a lot about it since home closed down and i have seen the building and i do feel for the property owners and the challenges that you face and i don't want to cause the dir res, this is a key lot at the corner of church and market and it is the gateway as you head to the castro and to have that lot which is across the street from safeway and a whole foods being built at this moment and jamba juice and all of those things sets the wrong tone for what is the castro or what is san francisco?
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and what is upper market? and i understand why the space with a tenant that is credit worthy and i am not dismissing that because that is an important thing. when we talk about the neighborhoods and the vie tal streets it is all about the feeling that a neighborhood creates, the streets and a vibrant, thriving street and it does not have a single other than a chase bank at the one end and it does not have a single formula retail along the way. if every storefront and there is more demand for more storefronts and the neighborhoods that are thriving are not the ones with the form law retail all over them, it is the ones that don't have that. i think that we are seeing, you know, there is a lot of it is interesting because i would mention earlier in the hearing that i was at this presentation for a retail analyst guy and one of the things that i thought was interesting is that he said that mellimials want to live in a place that is unique, and not cookie cut and her not loyal to the brands they are loyal to the experiences.
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and the community is about the experience and what is growing in the retail market and chipotle by the nature of being a fast food rest it is not an experience, i eat and i leave, but for this lot and size, the nice thing about a full service restaurant where the people linger and have dessert is a different kind of place and vitality and activity that provides the neighborhood that a quick grab and go kind of location does not provide. and i think that is one of the key things that we look at when we talk about cvs and they provide something that a lot of other businesses can't provider don't provide, they do. the pharmacies are not the small businesses any more and they provide something that in a lot of ways that walgreens does not provide. and it was a different kind of business, and we also talked about it as an office store where the people will go from all over the city and places to
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go to an apple store because people buy apple products and chipotle is not a destination as someone said, people are not going to go from all over the city to go to chipotle and if they wanted to they have nine other locations apparently. which is definitely shows that there is no shortage of chipotle if you would like some. the other thing is that i am so familiar with chilango, i love your carnitos and there are great mexican restaurants while i don't believe the game chipotle verses the other restaurants, i do think that there is, that there is an impact in terms of you know, the type of people that you want to attract to a neighborhood and what you are trying to present the neighborhood to be about. when you invite some of those other kinds of things in. we also heard i mentioned earlier that orchard supply that came to us not too long ago filed for bankruptcy and now secured by lowes and boston
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market and filed for bankruptcy, and chipotle is doing well and we don't expect that to happen. but the point is that this is a thrive and fail for a vote variety of reasons, that i think it should be a mixed use lot, part of it is the configuration of the large, one story buildings, i don't think that they are profitable kinds of spaces that work well and that is just probably what a lot of the analysts would tell you. so, i actually think that the best thing that you probably could do for that lot is explore some sort of mixed use development that would make the retail more affordable and actually will be a benefit to the neighborhood by providing housing or other sort of amenities. >> i am actually, i think that we have heard enough of the commissioners at this point and i am going to go ahead to move to disapprove. and i know that there are other commissioners that want to speak. >> second. >> commissioner moore? >> it is not very often that as quickly as the developer for the far-reaching policy that
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the majority of the commissioners basically agree of what we are trying to do and it is not going to be one size fits all but i think that we have let certain parts of san francisco vie tal commercial corridors be too over powered and you can live quickly anywhere usa and picking up on what someone else said and i think that for the supervisors as well as the commission to be cognoscente that something needs to happen and that does not mean that snow but the fine tuning as i said that i think supervisor weiner supports and the policy that we discussed has testified with the testament and the director that we want to find this and the larger degree of the determination for each neighborhood and since this particular neighborhood based on the plan and the incredible work for the adjoining neighbors and etc. have put into this, i think that we are at a time of critical
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transformation as well presented a few weeks ago by the triangle neighborhood group that we need to support where this policy might take us. and this correct, commissioner borden that is really important try angular sites where we want to avoid the obvious form law retail solutions this will be there where we can show the best that we can do and that is about the variety, small, medium and scale and what really fits the proper expression of the support that neighborhood in a very kind way. and i think that the one thing that we have not talked about at all, and that was something which was actually brought back to my attention was the letters that we received from mr. timothy dunn this morning. and that is the parking lot which is adjacent to this particular enterprise. and i am very, very concerned that react vaiting the curb cut
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for the surface parking is the opposite of what we want to do, what to do with this parking lot has not at all been discussed and. if we look at the future of the site and it is reused but at this moment it contradicts i would not support anything that would take that into consideration. >> a motion to not approve that is obviously not part of the discussion, but i hope that we will hope to continue that keep that issue alive as we look at other solutions for this particular property. >> commissioner antonini? >> i would disagree with commissioners borden with the vitality. we have streets that are quite vibrant and do have no formula retail, or very little, but we also have vaoets like upper fillmore, and chest nus and union and 24th street that have a blend and if you go down any
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night or days, the streets are very, very busy and everybody is doing very well and few vacantcies. so i don't think that it is a question of formula retail, or local business. >> and the other issue that comes up is many of the speakers and most of the commissioners think that we can go out and order a business and like they will appear from nowhere and we will have a business that will take this up. and the family who testified has done their due diligence and the owners and also the leasing agent spoke about the efforts over the last two years, to try to get a tenant in there and they were not successful and they are leaving at the rent at the amount that was charged three years ago. and still, they were not getting any other takers. and i think that to some degree we sometimes over reach our authority in san francisco. i mean, i would be upset if the commercial space our family owns in the east bay came in
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and told us who we could rent to and not. they could say that we don't like the signage, we don't like this particular aspect of it. you have to have less parking or more parking, but to tell you that you can't rent to someone, and you have to continue to take a loss on a building that your family may depend on for income, i think is not a good situation. >> commissioner sugaya? >> the other issue for me is that if this is another formula retail right on the corner across from the safeway shopping center and i think that coal foods is being built across the street and all of a sudden we are going to have this concentration right in the area where we are trying to say that we don't want the concentration and i think that we did talk about whether it might not be good to have all of the formula retail all in one place at one point in our deliberations over starbucks and cvs and that did not seem like a very good policy to
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follow. and i think that the only way that you have to go down to south of market towards the ballpark and all of the new developments there. to see what formula retail and the neighborhood is all about. it is pretty deadly for me. and if you look at a lot of the smaller businesses, they are in all older buildings, that may not bode well for the new development along market, i hope that changes. but to have one formula retail after another on that new development down there. and it is quite deadening to me. it is a little different in with the construction activity and thes a demonstration that if we don't watch it and other areas can be susceptible to the same kind of development and to the comments that were made about the valencia not having
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formula retail, or very little, but other do like chest nut, i would like to think that the city's policies as they have been applied to chest nut and other neighborhood commercial has struck a balance between formula retail and local businesses without which the neighborhood woulds not be there. >> commissioners there say motion and a second on the floor. >> do you disapprove? >> commissioner antonini >> no. >> commissioner borden >> aye. >> hillis. >> aye. >> moore. >> aye. >> sugaya. >> aye. >> and president fong >> aye >> so moved that passes 5 to 1, commissioner antonini against. commissioners we have two more items and i am told that the next one is very fast. would you like a break now or hear the next item and take a break or just keep going. >> all right. >> next item please? >> in that case we are move on to item 1 a, 5, for case,
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2013.0479 cat 443 clement street. >> staff here. >> there she is. >> and look. >> good afternoon, commissioners the planning develop staff and property ject before you is a conditional use authorization request to establish a new restaurant, cba, happy sushi at 443, clement street. the subject property is located on the ground floor of a single story between 5th and 6th avenue. the department is recommending approval of this project. the site is vacant and was previously occupied by retail discount store. and the proposed change of use is desirable in that it is converting the vacant space into a compliment use in the neighborhood. the proposed japanese
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restaurant attempts to provide employment opportunities and operate from ten a.m. to ten p.m. and operate during the daytime and nighttime hours. >> although the existing eating and drinking establishment exceeds 25 percent of the needed area sited in section 303 p and exceeds 20 percent in the general plan policy, staff believes that the replacement of a vacant storefront with a neighborhood serving would result in an over all improvement for the subject neighborhood. furthermore, the increase of eating and drinking use business one percent within the immediate, 300 foot area will have an insignificant change in the character of the district. the proposed use is that it is consistent with the neighborhood character and will have no significant impacts on the neighborhood. and no additional public comment has been submitted following the release of the commission packet and therefore, the department recommends approval of the conditions. >> this concludes my presentation, i will be
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available for questions, >> thank you. >> project sponsor? >> business owner? >> i am judy, okay, i don't know what to say. okay, it has been vacant for more than a year so we have been lower in the rent for a few times already. and so we are thinking to convert is to a sushi, restaurant where a family member can run it. >> okay. >> yes, thank you. >> is there any public comment on this item? >> public comment? >> okay. >> seeing none, public comment is closed. commissioner sugaya? >> yes, i have a question. the staff cited increases in both the over concentration, which is over 20 percent going from 21.9 to 22. which we all can say is maybe miniscule, however it is an increase and it is above 20 percent and the other one it is
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38 to 39 percent a little bit more at one percent increase. but 39 percent is 14 percent above the concentration limits. so, i can't understand how the recommendation is being made in the face of exceeding both criteria. and to make the argument that it has been vacant is the same argument that we got for the last one which we just denied. so it does not seem like a very plausable argument to presenting this case on that, or using that argument, whereas, in the other case, in essence we did not care. so, i can't support this motion. >> commissioner antonini? >> i had some of the same thoughts here when i read the considerations and i, you know, generally, i am more supportive of being probusiness and allowing this landlord and the
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establishment to go into here. and there seemed to be no objections and even though the concentrations seemed to be a lot higher than what they should be, you know, i am willing to overlook it, you know, and i think that you have to look at this whether it is beneficial or not just because it is a privately owned or locally owned establishment does not mean that it is beneficial and if it is formula retail it isn't, i am glad that commissioner sugaya looked that up to say that we don't want to be hypocritical but i am going to vote for this to make the point that this does not seem to make a difference maybe you can explain why the staff is recommending it. >> sure, i believe that the... well, in the past, there has been an over concentration of eating and drinking uses. we have already supported it if it proved to be a complimentary
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use and a clustering of these eating and drinking establishments made sense, and especially in areas where the public transit is accessible and which in this case it is. and so, i agree that the in the previous case, the concentration issue did come up, however that was a concentration of the formula retail use and mot for eat and drinking establishment uses and i am not sure whether or not we have made that parallel in the past but perhaps,... >> i believe that you are correct, i think that is the way that we have looked at it. >> well, i agree that there are two different issues, but it seems like the numbers are extremely important on the last case where the commissioners would go one way if it is 19 and the other, at 20 and now if you have got this vast over, you know, concentration and it is not hardly raised at all. and but, the commissioner